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Effects of a prolonged intervention of breathing exercises after cardiac surgery - a randomised controlled trial

Journal article
Authors Maria Carlsson
Ole Berthelsen
Monika Fagevik Olsén
Published in European Journal of Physiotherapy
ISSN 2167-9169
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Language en
Keywords Breathing exercises, cardiac surgery, respiration
Subject categories Physiotherapy


© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Objectives: To evaluate the effect of a prolonged intervention of breathing exercises with Inspiratory Resistance Positive Expiratory Pressure for one month after open cardiac surgery concerning lung function, respiratory movements and postoperative pulmonary complications. Methods: A randomised controlled trial comparing the effect of home-based breathing exercise after discharge from the hospital or stop at discharge. Eighty patients were randomly assigned to an intervention group or control group. Forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in the first second, peak expiratory flow, respratory movements and saturation were measured at discharge and after the intervention. At follow-up self-reported pulmonary complications were also recorded. Results: A significant increase in forced vital capacity (p =.04) was found in the intervention group compared with the control group, and there were a tendency towards significant differences also in forced expiratory volume in the first second and saturation (p =.06). Respiratory movements increased significantly after one month but there were no significant differences between groups. None of the patients reported being treated for pneumonia. Conclusion: A prolonged intervention of breathing exercise for one month after open cardiac surgery significantly increases forced vital capacity and may accelerate recovery after cardiac surgery. Clinical registration number: FoU in Sweden no 76141.

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